"Does Religion divide or segregate people?”
Does religion divide or segregate people? I do not think religion is at fault, I think it is the beliefs contained within that can be harmful. The answer would be “Yes.” Let us look at the definition of religion first.
Main Entry: re•li•gion Pronunciation: \ ri-li-jn \Function: noun Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Anglo-French religiun, Latin religion-,
religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps
from religare to restrain, tie back — more at conscientiousness : a cause,
principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.
The above is the definition from Webster’s online dictionary; it is the beliefs that are held to by any one religion, which is the question. Whether or not they divide us I think is a matter of personal opinion. Now having said that, I think all religion, in the organized, ritualized fashion, as in the big three, Christian, Jewish and Muslim/Islam all share similarities, all seem to have the same tenets why is there so much turmoil between them? A good example of this would be “the Dome of the Rock” and “Solomon’s Temple” and the controversy over who if any of them actually has jurisdiction over this piece of property. Would the building of a temple really signal the end of humanity?
So many of the worlds religions all share similar concepts and systems of belief. The Hindi and Buddhist teachings share many concepts of the big three, yet they tend to be looked down upon by other newer religions. Almost all the worlds’ religions have taken similar beliefs, concepts or practices from other religions, whether they are a specific teaching, idea or creation story.
Let us take for instance the story of “Noah and the Arc” and the parallel to “Gilgamesh.” Both of these stories are very similar and yet, some fail to see the relevance of one to the other and that one has adopted this story with their own characters to relay the same teaching to the masses. If a story works to relay a message, does it really matter who wrote it first?
“Do unto others, as they would do unto you” is a popular teaching I think we all would agree on this ? I hope this would be a “Yes” from all of you. Even Pagan/Wiccan/Neo-Pagan practices and teachings have a "golden rule" so to speak, "do what ye will, lest ye harm none." Only the meaning has more to do with freewill and judging others, but in the teaching aspect, it still holds a similar
concept. Do what you need to as long as no one gets hurt in the process. Just as the “Do unto others, as they would do unto you,” relays, treat people how you would like to be treated.
Judgment of someone or something, for who he/she is or what they believe is something I think all of us are guilty of; no matter how hard we try to be non-judgmental, it is something that comes from how we are raised as children on through adulthood.Teachings that we learn from a myriad of sources. These teachings can be ingrained in us from teachings of our parents, peers or the common beliefs of a certain region of the world.
I think all of this boils down to “what have I learned and how does it relate to what others have learned and how we both apply this knowledge to the world around us.”
“When others approach you and ask your religious/practice/path, are you defensive in your reply?” Many of us hold our knowledge in high esteem; we cherish what we have learned and what we hold as truths, be they right or wrong, strange or indifferent. Just as the Jews of Jerusalem were leery of Jesus Christ, and the Romans hesitant of the Christians, so are any of us who discover something foreign to us. Having found that they are not like “us” in what we have learned in our teachings.
Have you ever been told "I'm right... my way is the only way to reach the after life, and the kingdom of heaven?" Depending on what your version of heaven is. Heaven being the one described in the Bible, Nirvana, Elysian Fields, which one exactly are you speaking of, there are many.
Myself I know it exists, but I do not believe there is a hell, or a heaven, I believe in something more logical, at least to me. Energy cannot be destroyed it only changes form, when I leave this body I will receive another and live again.To which plane I am not sure. Have I learned enough in this life? If I'm lucky I will move to a higher plane, one above this one where souls/spirits are more tolerant of one another and their beliefs. I hope that it is a place where I can relax and think about what I've done in this life, correcting the things I've done here and make the next life better, to help those around me, maybe even you!
How does it relate to what I have learned, and does your teaching offend me? As for me personally it does not, it only relates to your reality of this plane of existence and it gives you peace and function to relate to a power higher than yourself and that my friends is a great thing, all of us need something larger than ourselves to relate too and with. It improves us, it keeps our sense of reality and order in check, our morals however can be affected by our path/religion/practice, and I think sometimes this is what divides us. Like Pandora ’s Box the only thing left in it is hope, hope for change in the human condition in the fear of the unknown.
I think all religions/paths/practices are important...even the bad ones, we can all choose to learn or do we meet our fate knowing we could have done more.
Just so you know I'm Pagan, Italian and a Witch. I practice the old ways everyday. I help everyone I meet, I changed a flat on the freeway for a Baptist Minister the other day.....Imagine that the "Witch" helping out the "Christian"......this is what I'm talking about people, you can either be a part of the solution, or part of the problem......Learn all you can...and set your soul free!
The Segregation and Division come from within, it is a mindset, and you choose to segregate and divide, love everyone you encounter in your day-to-day travels. This is the best advice I can give anyone, and if you meet a soul that is troubled help if you can, because no matter what heaven you believe in it is the right thing to do!